Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer Vacation - Kids In The Kitchen

School is out! Many teens and tweens will be home during the day and rooting through the fridge and cupboards for food. You can either keep your kitchen stocked with quick (but unhealthy) commercially prepared items, have a personal chef stock your fridge and freezer with healthy and ready to heat and eat fare, or you can start your kids on the road to kitchen self-confidence and self-sufficiency by encouraging them to prepare some meals. Having healthy ingredients in the house will help your kids create salads, tortilla roll-ups, and other creations that are good for them. Who knows, they may even offer to make you a meal to show off their skills.

Recently, I was lucky enough to give a cooking class for a group of Girl Scout Cadets (ages 12 – 17). The group was fairly large (15 or 16 girls), and wanted to learn how to make something that could be individualized (especially the vegetarians in the bunch), as well as made by themselves at home. We decided on calzones with homemade pizza sauce for dipping. These recipes are simple and quick, and the girls were thrilled with their creations.

In keeping with the simple and quick theme, I had the girls use Rhodes frozen dough balls for their calzones. While pizza dough from scratch is very easy, it can be a bit time consuming. I also had the girls create their calzones without sauce, and then made sauce in which to dip their delicious pizza pastries.

The calzone and sauce recipes we used are below.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Serves: 8

1/2 cup(s) onion, chopped

2 tablespoon(s) garlic, minced

2 tablespoon(s) olive oil

1 15 oz. tomato sauce

1 6 oz. tomato paste

1 teaspoon(s) salt

2 teaspoon(s) oregano

2 teaspoon(s) basil

1/8 teaspoon(s) pepper

Sauté onion & garlic in olive oil until tender.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Easy Calzones Using Frozen Roll Dough

Serves 8

8 Rhodes Texas™ rolls (or 16 Rhodes Dinner Rolls), thawed but still cold
1/2 cup diced pepperoni
1, 2 1/4-ounce can sliced olives
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup heated pizza sauce

Flatten each roll into an 8-inch circle. Combine ham, olives, mushrooms, green peppers, and cheese. Place 1/4 cup ham mixture on each circle. Fold dough over (like a turnover) and seal edges with a fork. Place on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping. **Recipe courtesy of Rhodes Frozen Dough.

Homemade Calzone/Pizza Dough (Bread Machine)

Makes 8 calzones or personal pizzas

1 1/3 cup warm water

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups all purpose flour (can substitute up to 50% with whole wheat flour)

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients into the bread machine pan in the order specified by its manufacturer.

Set to dough cycle

When dough is complete (my machine’s dough cycle is a little over an hour), dump out of bread machine pan onto lightly floured board.

Knead a couple of times with floured hands until dough is not too sticky to work with.

Use with your favorite pizza or calzone recipe.